Fifth District Representative Bob Good is running for re-election with a promise to cut government spending — and a record of being one of the most partisan members of Congress.
Good was ranked 431 out of 435 members of the House on Georgetown University’s Lugar Center Bipartisan index, which produces a non-partisan ranking of how often each Member of Congress works across party lines.
Good earned a score of -1.95, which the center considers a “very poor” rating. That means that Good performed below the average set by other minority members of the House over the last 20 years.
Good is not fazed by his score or his reputation for partisanship.
“There’s a lot of Democrats who are going to become the least bipartisan members of Congress come January,” Good said. “We’ve got to stop the spending. That is what we’ll do.”
The root of all evil issues
For Good, government spending drives the issues he cares about most: inflation, crime and immigration.
“Well, what has caused the increase of the cost of living in the 5th District has been the government spending and the war on American energy has reduced production,” Good said.
Fuel prices rose 49% between January and June of this year, according to the Department of Transportation. Good believes that President Joe Biden’s administration is the reason that people in the 5th District are paying more at the gas pump.
“We’ve got to go back to the Trump energy policies that were working, that made us energy-independent,” Good said.
However, many economists government spending is not the sole factor for inflation or for increases in gas prices. Economist Paul Donovan told the World Economic Forum that the easing of pandemic-era restrictions means that people have more places to spend their money. That, plus Russia’s war in Ukraine, have caused prices to climb.
The war has raised prices by reducing the supplies of grain and oil in world markets. Also, the federal reserve has noted that coronavirus fiscal stimulus packages and supply chain disruptions may have played a role in price increases — but that the stimulus packages likely kept things from getting worse.
And, in regard to Good’s claim about energy independence efforts, the number of federal drilling permits granted hit a record high under Biden according to the fact-checking organization PolitiFact. Private companies decide when and how much they drill.
No, no and no
Good’s voting record is consistent with his concern about government spending.
He has voted against a bill that would grant greater access to health care for veterans exposed to burn pits on the grounds that spending was already too high.
He rejected a supplemental funding measure to address the baby formula shortage.
During his first term in the House of Representatives, Good has sponsored 35 pieces of legislation, according to the House of Representatives website. Most of them involve slashing the federal budget.
“It’s the most of any member of the Virginia Republican delegation. It’s one of the most of anybody in the freshman class,” Good said.
But none of them has passed the House. Experts said that is unusual. Good shrugs it off.
“It’s unfortunate that the [Democratic] Party, which seems intent on ruining the country, doesn’t agree with my legislation,” Good said.
Good finds room for disagreement within the GOP too. He was one of six House Republicans to vote against a bill that authorized funding for major medical facilities for the Department of Veterans Affairs. He was one of 62 Republicans to vote against the National Defense Authorization Act, which raised military personnel’s pay 4.6%.
“I’ve sponsored, co-sponsored over 30 pieces of legislation to help our veterans to have better access to health care, better access to education, better access to the benefits that they receive,” Good said.
Good has also co-sponsored 388 pieces of legislation. Five of those have become law; they include renaming a Winchester post office to honor Patsy Cline and directing the Department of the Treasury to mint coins memorializing World War II veterans.
Good’s sponsored legislation includes an attempt to resume federal student loan payments and an effort to fund the construction of a wall along the United States’ southern border. He also introduced the Silencers Help Us Save Hearing Act to prevent the regulation and taxation of gun silencers or mufflers.
The Silencers Help Us Save Hearing Act—called the SHUSH Act—includes a provision that eliminates mandatory minimum sentences for people convicted of drug trafficking or violent crime when that person carried a gun with a silencer or muffler. That seems at odds with Good’s tough-on-crime stance and concern about drug trafficking from Mexico.
“They’re not related…anyone trafficking drugs into the country should be prosecuted accordingly,” Good said.
Many in Good’s district said they want a representative who will tackle local issues. Good’s lack of bipartisanship matters in Charlottesville and Albemarle County, where voters lean blue.
“Bob Good wants to keep bringing up these national issues. We need a member who pays attention to local concerns, who actually tries to get stuff accomplished,” said Miles Coleman, an associate editor of Sabato’s Crystal Ball at the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics. Sabato’s Crystal Ball—run by UVA political scientist Larry Sabato—is a nonpartisan newsletter that predicts election outcomes.
“It’s frustrating for a lot of voters in Charlottesville and Albemarle County, because we have a representative who is diametrically opposed to us on so many issues,” Coleman said.
For example, Good voted no on a bill that would provide grants to police departments with fewer than 200 officers. That bill could help Charlottesville, because the Charlottesville Police Department has 80 officers; it would ideally have 110, according to Captain Tony Newberry.
The staffing shortage is in part because the department has a lower starting salary than others in the area, Newberry said. The grant could help, some believe. Good disagrees.
“They’re not short on police officers because of the lack of funding. They’re short on police officers because of [Democratic] policies that undermine our police forces,” Good said.
Good also said that as the congressman for the 5th District, he represents Charlottesville and Albemarle County.
“You can go on to the next question,” Good said.
Republican delegates voted for Good at a nominating convention in May. Local Republican Party officials decided how many delegates in a given precinct would vote based on the party’s share of votes in previous elections.
“He’s often in that same group as Marjorie Taylor Greene, Madison Cawthorn, those kind of troublemakers,” Coleman said. “If he’s actually in the majority next year, he might face a bit more pressure to actually deliver.”
“Extremism sells,” Coleman said.